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Welcome to PlayBowls! There's lots of different versions of bowls to play at our fantastic clubs. We've launched a new format called Bowls Bash which you can learn more about below. This is an exciting new game which is the perfect introduction to our wonderful game. But every format of the sport is great - so don't worry if the club nearest you doesn't offer Bowls Bash yet! Find out more about Bowls Bash at bowlsengland.com/bowlsbash.
Bowls is a sport everyone can enjoy, whether you're 9 or 90! It is intrinsically accessible, no matter your age, gender, ethnicity or ability. It's also so sociable - as you'll find out when visiting one of our friendly clubs! The health benefits of sport are well-known, and bowls offers a low impact way to stay vitalized. And of course - that moment as your bowl winds its way towards the jack is truly mesmerizing!
It's time to give bowls a go - its #AllToPlayFor
New clubs are signing up to PlayBowls all the time - so keep checking back here! In the meantime, head to the Bowls England website Find a Club page, where all 2000 of our affiliated clubs are listed. Bowls clubs are always eager to welcome new players and provide an opportunity to have a go. Each club has a contact on the Club Finder, so give them a call.
Bowls takes a second to learn, but a lifetime to master. Like boules on the beach or a game of skittles, it’ll take you no time to figure out the basic rules of the game.
Bowls is played on a square of grass called a green, which is divided into lanes called rinks. Players take turns to deliver their bowls from a mat at one end of the rink towards a small white target ball, often referred to as the ’jack’, situated near the other end. The bowls are shaped so that they take a curved path towards the jack, known as the bias.
The aim of the game is to get your bowls closest to the jack. One point is given for each bowl nearer the jack than the nearest bowl of your opponent. For example, if you or your team has three bowls closer to the jack than your opponent’s nearest bowl then you will score three for that end.
Each game is split into individual ends. After playing all the bowls in one direction and agreeing the score, the next end is played back down the rink in the opposite direction. The winner of the previous end will cast the jack.
We've got you sorted! We have launched a new version of the game called Bowls Bash. This is a fun, exciting and quick format of the game – ideal for your first PlayBowls experience! When searching, you can use the filter to find a club who offers this.
Besides Bowls Bash, there are different formats of the game. You can play singles or as part of a team, and a match can vary in lengths. The winner can either be the one who has scored the most shots after a specified number of ends or the first to reach a designated score.
You'll need at least 2 people to play a game of bowls, and can even have up to 8. We recommend getting three of your friends or family to join you to make a rink of four when having your first experience of the sport.
PlayBowls sessions are an hour long - but if you want to play for longer you can always book more sessions!
PlayBowls is a platform provided to bowls clubs across England by Bowls England, the national governing body. All clubs have the ability to set the prices and sessions to suit them. Their pricing structure could be based on a number of different factors; the facilities they have available, equipment, how many rinks they have available, the local prices for other leisure activities to name a few. Therefore we have allowed our clubs to set their own pricing to suit their circumstances.
Absolutely - we actively encourage it! This is a great sport for all ages and you never know - bringing your kids for a PlayBowls session may lead to the Commonwealth Games in the future!
Want to learn more before booking your first session? You can find loads of information about the sport on the Bowls England website, or when you’re using PlayBowls to find a local club, there’s more information on each club’s page.
Want to watch bowls as well as PlayBowls? Easy! Each year, Bowls England host their National Finals in Royal Leamington Spa in August and September. In 2022, it will take place between Thursday 25 August and Sunday 11 September and tickets are available now – just head to the Bowls England website to find out more.
Lawn bowls is the format of the sport played at the Commonwealth Games, too! Birmingham 2022 will see Team England vying for glory, again on the hallowed greens of Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa. There will be tv coverage throughout the event, so have your appetite whetted by seeing the best in the world battle it out for the biggest prize in the sport – a Commonwealth Games Gold Medal!